More citizen-sourced aid destined for Cyclone Idai survivors


Many tons of aid collected by the citizens of South Africa are destined to be sent to those affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It was gathered by the #MidnightTrain relief initiative.

Jacob Mohlamme, Managing Director of North Park Telecoms and a contributor to #MidnightTrain, said that 20 tons of relief supplies have already been sent to Mozambique, via trucks. The original aim was to put together one hundred care packages, but 460 were donated.

Another ‘train’ is scheduled to depart today (16 April), either by land or air, depending whether an aircraft can be sourced.

Numerous relief drives have been held for cyclone survivors, including a fun run/walk and concert at the Johannesburg Zoo on Saturday 13 April. This collected items like water, water purifiers, non-perishable food, solar lights, clothing, tents, sleeping bags, bedding, towels, pots, crockery, sanitary pads, baby care products, detergents etc. #MidnightTrain identified some gaps in the type of aid that was being sent to cyclone survivors and started collecting things like cooking utensils and sanitary pads in addition to food and clothing.

Mozambique was the first port of call for the #MidnightTrain (initially named #MidnightTrainToBeira), but now #MidnightTrain wants to go to Malawi and Zimbabwe as they have also requested assistance. Zimbabwe in particular has requested cholera vaccinations.

Hundreds of thousands of people are still in need of aid after Cyclone Idai battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March. More than 1,000 people have been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit. The World Bank estimates the affected countries will need over $2 billion to recover.

Mozambique has been the worst hit, when Cyclone Idai made landfall on the night of 14 March, near the port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains. Two major rivers, the Buzi and the Pungue, burst their banks, submerging villages and leaving bodies floating in the water. 600 people were killed in Mozambique and 1 600 injured whilst 240 000 houses were damaged or destroyed and 700 000 hectares of crops damaged. In total, 1.85 million Mozambicans have been affected, including 5 000 contracting cholera.

Zimbabwe was also badly hit, with 344 people killed when the storm hit eastern Zimbabwe, flattening homes and flooding communities in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts. Some 16 000 households have been displaced and 250 000 people affected.

In Malawi, Cyclone Idai brought heavy rains and flooding to the lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje in Malawi’s south. The rains continued after the storm hit. In total, 60 people were killed, nearly 700 injured and 870 000 affected.